Highs and Lows from the Kia 200
4/13/11


Coming into Homestead things were looking good for the BWR ST # 81 car. Prior to this the Exclusive Management team made a trip to Homestead to test with Skip Barber. Skip Barber feels like home to me because they taught me how to race. CEO Michael Duncalfe and Co-driver Gregory Liefooghe were there and we were teaming up to find the speed on the course. Greg had been to the track the year before with the CTSCC, so having him there to help me learn the track was awesome and extremely helpful. Also having my manager, Michael doing lead/follows was a very cool experience. With my two coaches, and the experienced staff of Skip Barber, I was bound to learn as much as possible. I also owe a special thanks to Thomas McGregor and Shelby Blackstock for running back to back lead/follows. Running laps is one thing, but to have two awesome teammates pushing you is another.
The time had come and once again I found myself in Florida walking through the Homestead paddock. Accompanied by my co-driver, we quickly got registered and made our way to the trailer, put our bags down, said hello to our team, and then we went to greet our chariot.
Before I knew it I was in the car about to roll out of pit lane for the promoter test day. The sessions went well but we knew we had some changes to make. With Greg and David Wagner hard at work, we were on our way to getting the setups dialed in.
For qualifying, we knew that we needed to be in a place with just enough of a gap that we could close in the draft with no traffic hold ups. We set out as a team with the sister car ST #80 piloted by Bill Heumann right behind me. We found the gap we needed but were unable to secure a time within the top ten.
Starting fourteenth was not what we planned, but now we had to stay focused and get the car in the top five. My job was to keep the car out of trouble and hand it off to Greg so he had a chance at the top five. The race started, or so I thought, but in reality it was a demolition derby. Cars were scattered all over the track and we had full course cautions one after another. During the race, we had a few little encounters ourselves but nothing serious, for the most part all the incidents seemed to be behind us. Slowly but surely I made my way up through the pack and found myself in the top ten, catching a car about every other lap.

In every sport luck plays a part and things were looking good for us. I was catching the Porsche Boxster in front of me and we had the fastest lap of the race up until our luck ran out. The car shut down on the way to turn 8 and I rolled off into the grass. Doing everything I could that was in my power, I kept trying to restart the car. Our race was over and my fastest lap was taken from me as well.
Shortly after being towed back to the paddock I was met by my co-driver Greg. We took some time to ourselves to regroup and rejoined the team in pit lane. We watched the end of the race and then walked with our head mechanic, Ryan Kuhn, to our wounded chariot. He explain to me what happened and showed both Greg and I what went wrong and that it was not our fault, just one of those misfortunes that happen. At first it was hard to grasp, but now it is what makes me motivated to show everyone at Barber that we are one of the best teams. We will review data and video and prepare for our next race. Looking forward to Barber. Thanks everyone for reading.